A recent agricultural research paper, titled, The Sheep’s Back, has been released by ANZ, and revealed Australia’s $6.5 billion sheep industry needs 22 million more sheep to maintain its current share of global production.
The reports key findings revealed that global demand for sheep meat could increase by 21 per cent by 2040 and growth in demand for wool is expected to increase by nine per cent.
The report said a positive forecast for the Australian sheep industry is ahead, however improved productivity gains, as well as growth of the national flock number, are crucial to achieving the future growth.
ANZ, head of agribusiness, Mark Bennett, said to take advantage of this growth opportunity, sheep farmers will need to improve productivity through increased farm size, flock size and better on-farm processes.
The key will be to not have producers doing it all themselves but having engagement with specialists to help them make informed business decisions.
He said farm management efficiencies include better land use, improved lambing and reduced fattening times.
“I think it is absolutely pertinent to provide producers with valuable information to assist in business management, development and expansion, however, how is the hard part, along with identifying the steps to help do this.
“The key will be to not have producers doing it all themselves but having engagement with specialists to help them make informed business decisions – there are tools loaded with data, but assistance with how to apply this information is the key.”
The report also stated that sheep farming in Australia is a low cost and relatively high return on capital industry.
Mr Bennett said a sheep farm is more of an accessible business than it’s beef counterpart, saying it has better opportunities for younger people, as it requires less capital.
“In general the industry is quiet about success stories – we are seeing people doing very well but it is also the responsibility of bodies like the ANZ and Meat and Livestock Australia to promote this, to attract interest and take advantage of the growth that is forecasted,” he said.
He said this is a vital step in enticing new generations, along with the outside investment into the industry, which will in turn help increase producers productivity.
Mr Bennett concluded that the sheep industry will continue to be of benefit from innovation and new thinking, saying the direction of the industry 30-40 years ago is not suffice today and for the industry to move forward, new ideas to create more opportunities need to come to the table.